Pioneer expects to pump the equivalent of about 635,500 barrels of oil this year, a 3% increase from 2021, the Irving, Texas-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. The full-year capital spending target of $3.45 billion was in line with analysts’ estimates.
Pioneer’s decision to stick to a disciplined-growth strategy follows that of Devon Energy Corp., Continental Resources Inc. and Marathon Oil Corp., which also vowed to keep production largely in check. Investors had been concerned that oil prices approaching $100 a barrel would entice management teams to ramp up drilling and face the threat of a renewed supply glut and retaliatory market moves by OPEC and its allies.
Fourth-quarter earnings came in at $4.58 a share, exceeding expectations by more than 50 cents. The company will pay a $3.78 dividend on March 14, made up of a base and variable component, that represents a 3.8% increase from the previous payout.
Given that publicly-listed independents such as Pioneer and Devon account for more than half of U.S. shale output, their reticence is a bullish price signal. Supermajors including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. recently surprised investors with ambitious plans to pump significantly more barrels this year.